- Product: Photo Blanket
- Person: Mandy
- Use: Staying connected with kids and grand children
Mandy’s close-knit family all live within an easy drive in North Texas: all three of her children are nearby, and now, all six of her grandchildren. But her mom and stepdad live in Florida, and lately, the distance has been hard.
“Even if there was no quarantine, they probably wouldn’t have traveled this distance anymore,” she says; they’re both in their 90s, and while they’re spry, it’s just too much. But Mandy and her children and their children could have come to them — until the pandemic made that impossible. The only option, for the moment, has been FaceTime. It’s good. But it’s not the same.
“This has been a super difficult time for them because they are very isolated, by choice, but necessity as well,” she says; at 95, you don’t take extra risks. She started thinking about how to offer love and comfort in absentia. “The idea behind the blanket,” Mandy explains, “is that it’s kind of a virtual hug.”
“I thought, ‘okay, if I was away for my kids and my grandkids, what would give me the most comfort?’” she recalls. The blanket, she decided, should feature the great-grandchildren — she wanted her mom to be surrounded by “their faces all the time” — and so she gathered family photos, a picture of each set of siblings together, and a portrait of every kid alone.
“I think a really good analogy is, when you’re a kid, you have a favorite stuffed animal or a favorite blanket,” Mandy says. “This is kind of the adult version.” It is, she hopes, a tangible manifestation of a bond: “I wanted her to feel wrapped up in their love.”
And she likes the permanence of it. “If you’re thinking of doing something, don’t send flowers,” she urges. “Flowers are gone in a couple days. You need to do something that’s lasting.”
So far, the blanket seems to be doing its job. “It’s definitely in use,” Mandy reports. “She’s sent me pictures of it on her side of the bed.” The only problem now is that it will soon be out of date. “There’ll be another little girl next year,” laughs Mandy. “They’ll need another one for sure.”